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Anti-theist discussion


#1

Having a discussion with atheists and anti-theist lately. Lets see how long this discussion can go without the moderators getting involved.
The Anti-Theist on the moral questions: There are many, but I’ll bring up this conversation specifically.

They claim that morality is only good or bad once someone understands and agrees on what is good and bad about the moral statements made about a topic. Otherwise, the person following the moral claims, made but do not understand why they are moral or agree that they are moral, are just acting according to the direction of those rules. They have suspended their moral assessment on the issue and are just following orders with no understanding why they should be doing something. They are a trained pet told to get off the couch without ever understanding why being on the couch is a bad idea at all. So the claim that anything from a deity is, by default, a moral statement or ruling is taking it too far. Someone can have a track record of having made moral statements and actions, but every action and statement made still needs to be assessed. For a biblical example they reference is the bible’s references to slavery. Not how to care for your slaves, but just the idea of owning another person as property regardless of how well you treat them; treat them as well or better than your own family, and it’s still morally wrong to own another person. They believe that there is no context where owning another person as property is ever a moral action take to solve the problem the people were facing. From this conversation, they don’t find that the religious community is a morally serious community since they proudly espouse that there is nothing their deity could do that would make them believe their deity was immoral and not worth having a relationship with and even an entity to fight against. There is nothing it could do that would change that. So the religious come across as just wanting to appease the biggest bully in the room and have given up their morality in return for a reward and to avoid punishment. Somethings are worth fighting for, regardless if your actions would actually make a difference to the opposition. The bully needs their cronies and people to bully. But they have power by might alone. Have anyone come across this line of conversation with the anti-theist community and what gives you push back to their observations on the religious community and it’s involvement in religious politics and it’s claims that religion is a moral system?


#2

I hope a moderator just goes ahead and deletes this. Absolutely pointless post.

Generally atheists argue that morality is a matter of social darwinism and “contractualization.” For example, a long time ago, two people agreed not to kill each other so that both could survive. Thus murder became a taboo, and it developed from there.

That first sentence can be applied to many people in many circumstances, religious or otherwise.

Go do some scholarly reading. Posting a snide essay on a Catholic forum won’t accomplish much.


#3

Will replying in this manner change any of the views expressed? No… It will probably solidify them.


#4

"Generally atheists argue…"
The point of the presentation was to show what anti-theists view and discuss about the religious community. You did not address what the religious point of view that the anti-theists were pointing out. This blatently points out that you don’t have anything to argue against their observations and just want to try a red herring by saying, “Yeah, well look at what they do too.” I’ll take this as you agree with their observations and want to lump others into it as well.

"The first sentence…"
I agree with you here, but you are doing the same thing from what I just wrote. So see the above response.

"Posting a snide essay on a Catholic forum…“
This is posted in the appropriate section of the forum. If you don’t like these conversations, don’t have a section for this type of conversation. Reminds me of the old joke about the nuns thanking the author of the dictionary for not including the curse words. He responded with, Thank you ladies for continually desiring to look them up.” You see, this site has an area for controversial discussion and you went and looked for it and then got upset with what you found. Don’t want to get outside your bubble, stop leaving the house.


#5

While they completely ignore the source of which their survival instinct came from?


#6

Not sure what your friends are debating but it’s not Christian morality. Are you wanting info on Christian morality?
Christian morality is an evaluation of human acts. That evaluation begins by identifying an objective good. The moral evaluation is made in reference to that objective good. If you can’t identify the referenced good you are not doing morality, you are doing consensus, or whim, or assertion of power, or politics. It can be said in different ways, but it’s not Christian morality. It’s subjective or relative. Christian morality is neither.

Generally speaking, atheists avoid discussing authentic Christian belief and instead construct fundamentalist straw men.

O


#7

Isn’t all morality an evaluation of human acts? or just the acts of social creatures of higher functioning brains? other species exhibit a moral system within their groups besides humans.

To identify an objective good. This always appears to be the most common overlapping positive desire of the human experience regardless of time and culture. Such as basic things of Fire = Hot = Bad and going from there. Sounds like the “Aught” vs “Is” conversation, if not let me know. It seems to me, the most overlapping reference to ground moral systems for the human experience is in referencing “Human Well-being”. But the religious are referencing a deity instead. So to the point from what I was posting, the anti-theists are claiming that the religious’ reference point for the objective good undercuts the ability have a moral system since what is moral is whatever the deity says is moral. That causes the religious to shelve their need to understand why something is moral, to never conclude that a pronouncement from a deity is bad; by default it must always be a moral statement. This forces the followers to just become a-moral followers. Not immoral, but a-moral. Non-practicing moral agents. They will jump off the couch just because they are told to but never understand why being on the couch was a problem to begin with. Even if they do analyze a pronouncement by their deity, it by default must be a moral statement and so the religious use that as the end point and then try to find a way to reach that end point for themselves. If they can’t, then they just use the excuse, god is mysterious. or we can’t know god’s ways. Again acting as an a-moral follower of a deity. How can something be good or bad, moral or immoral if you can not understand why it is one way or the other? Just saying “because god said so” is not an explanation apparently.
I agree that christian morality is not subjective or relative since it is grounded in the revelations of a deity, but that does not make these revelations actually moral based on the good or bad of people. That is why referencing something as “good” or “bad”, “moral” or “immoral” all seems to be referenced to “human well-being”. From that, the anti-theists are claiming that the deity’s moral pronouncements are not moral, they are only pronouncements from an entity that no one can challenge. That no one can push back against from. So it’s just giving up fighting for the actual morally correct path and just taking the pathway of least amount of damage people can receive from not appeasing this deity. It’s just utilitarian.


#8

You’re talking about instinct and experience, not morality.

Fire feels bad therefore I avoid it.
Sex feels good therefore I desire it and pursue it.
Instinct and experience contribute to the understanding of morality and the proliferation of moral acts, but

Instinct is not an adequate basis to evaluate the goodness of an act.
Likewise, “human well being” is a part of the good, and is taken up as part of it, but it is not the objective good. What is good for one human being might be to the detraction of another. That’s not morality, that’s force, or ethics by assertion of power, or domination. It’s the subjugation of one human being to my well being. So while well being is part of it, it’s not the ultimate good.

Since I am talking about Christian morality, let’s observe the ground of it. In the CCC morality is grounded in this context:

PART THREE
LIFE IN CHRIST

SECTION ONE
MAN’S VOCATION LIFE IN THE SPIRIT

CHAPTER ONE
THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

This is the context of Christian morality. Note that objective good is not grounded necessarily in mere “well being”, prosperity and health and such, but in the unified life of body and spirit, in God. The dignity of the human person is oriented toward vocation of “life in the Spirit”. Vocation is what we are called to. We are called to “life in the Spirit”.

Before you cast this as a dichotomy between “well being” and morality, note that well being is taken up and fulfilled in morality, not cast aside as irrelevant.

The evaluation of human acts has it’s ultimate reference in the good of full life in the Spirit, not in popular consensus, or feelings, or instincts. These things can definitely contribute to our good end, but they are not the ground of it, and they are not ends in themselves. It should be common sense that feelings and popular consensus are not adequate to evaluate human acts. “might does not make right”. Because I feel it for my neighbors wife, doesn’t mean it’s good for me or my neighbors wife. History has proven the tragic consequences of distorted moral assumptions.

So, that is Christian morality.
You are trying to fit morality as a square peg into a round hole.


#9

This is a good jumping off point since this shows the difference in conversation on this topic from the anti-theist and the CCC.
How do you define something as “moral”? I see something being “moral” based on observing the person to see what they, themselves value for good and bad to them. If they are a part of a social group and after observing all the entities, you can find the most common overlapping desires that they all appear to value. Whether this value is logically concluded or from instinct is irrelevant to me since its the results of a vin diagram from social studies of the individuals. You can find outliers, but those are not the norm. This is where we discover what is moral or not for those social creatures. That’s why I was referring to “human well-being” as the reference point for moral grounding. You can have multiple answers for what would be a good moral action for a given situation and you can have definitive immoral actions as well from that reference point. Just like apples vs oranges, either are fine in reference to nutrition, but drinking battery acid is objectively bad in reference to nutrition. I don’t see how instinct and experience is not how we develop and understand what is moral or not. That is why, as humans, we believe it is moral to care for our young instead of abandoning them like other animals. It’s in our instinct and we can reason why it is beneficial, in reference to human well-being, to care for our young.


#10

I agree Instinct alone, is not adequate to evaluate goodness of an act, since the reference point for good and bad of an act is based on human well-being as a result of that act. Some people are not able to overcome their more stronger instincts and become detrimental to the advancement of human well-being of the society. That is why we isolate and minimize their interaction with the rest of society. We do have the ability to analyze the results of our actions and understand the instincts that drive us and make us happy. So we find ways to practice drives in a safe way, such as competition in sports, pursuing sexual partners, caring for children, etc. These are all instinct driven and we use our intelligence to succeed at these events as safely as possible.
I disagree that human well-being is not the objective good. It all seems to come down to that as the most common overlap of what “good” and “bad” references.
You can have good for one person that detracts from someone else, but that’s true of just living in a society. Its just a result of running that test. But the advancement of human well-being in that society is what we can use to judge the values of that society to see if they are moral people or not, regardless of the majority rules and time and culture.
What is ultimate good to you? Ultimate when applied to something relative like morality seems like an absurd combination. It’s like asking what is the ultimate value of pie? The value of pie that you need to use to solve the problem is the ultimate value you use. So if your equation only needs pi to the 5th decimal place to solve it, using pi at the 6th, 20th, 5 millionth value is irrelevant and no more accurate to solve the problem than just using the 5th decimal place.


#11

Referencing the life and spirit in God to anti-theists is irrelevant to them since they don’t see that referencing the supernatural is an actual reference point to point at. It’s like suggesting to reference your favorite literary figure as a reference point. They could understand referencing the ideal version of yourself or society, the idea of what we would like to be eventually, but to actually reference a deity is not valid since this deity appears to only have a revealed relationship to certain people of the world and is excluding many other people. The universal, ultimate, reference point of morality for people has to be a reference point we can all access. I believe that is what they find issue with referencing a deity to be.
Popular consensus can be correct if everyone understands the reasoning to that point and the universal application to everyone. But morality has to first be reasoned, understood, and referenced to the application of the human experience. A good idea is good regardless of how many people believe it or not. We can all think of times when the popular opinion was wrong for the well-being of humanity as a reference point, but we can also all point to times when the popular opinion was correct for the well-being of humanity.
“Might of the people to be governed makes right” when the governed are not being governed in the manor they want to be governed to. People voluntarily give up their freedoms for the social cohesion of the society, they volunteer to be governed. So when the government is not responding to the people’s feedback on how they want to be governed and civil discourse has failed, then you have all the right in the world to take up arms to fight your oppressors. Might is the right tool for that social change just as long as it is not the first tool to use. Taking someone’s life for their actions against you when you haven’t educated that person on how you want to be treated is always a bad action in the reference point of “human well-being”.


#12

Jeffery Dahmer thought eating dead people was something good to do.
?

If they are a part of a social group and after observing all the entities, you can find the most common overlapping desires that they all appear to value. Whether this value is logically concluded or from instinct is irrelevant to me since its the results of a vin diagram from social studies of the individuals.

You realize this justifies anything, if a majority give their assent? That’s not morality, that’s political force.

I don’t see how instinct and experience is not how we develop and understand what is moral or not.
That all contributes to the pursuit of it, but instinct cannot be the source of morality, or we would all be killing each other for the last dollar, the last woman, and the last plate of food. And it would be “good”, because our instinct likes food sex and money.

That is why, as humans, we believe it is moral to care for our young instead of abandoning them like other animals.

Do we? Have you seen the news lately, or seen the statistics on abortion?
Instinct is not a reliable source of morality. Only when instinct is ordered to morality does it contribute to good.

Morality is an evaluation of human acts, and it has to be in reference to an objective good, or the concept of morality is meaningless. All you are left with is instinct, whim, and assertion of power.
Tyranny.


#13

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